Whilst it’s a departure from plastic fantastic, today’s subject still captures that 1997 vibe enough for me to bite: the Topps Journey to The Force Awakens Star Wars trading card series.
So how does this new card series apply to Star Wars 1995-2000? Technically it doesn’t actually at all, but read on anyway for a brief tale of nostalgia and a closer look at the cards themselves…
Action figures were far from cool in my school by the time I hit 13 years old; basketball trading cards were a much hotter property amongst my friends. The Merlin Star Wars Trilogy Special Edition series gave me an ‘acceptable’ way to showcase my fandom, something helped by the fact that the cards were damned nice in their own right, and the series subsequently became a key part of my Star Wars collection. I amassed the complete set of 125 (and an equally large pile of duplicates) in a short space of time.
The set unfortunately went missing years later during one of my many house moves along with an entire box of mementos from the Special Editions. Whilst I’ve since regained many of those lost items I’ve only occasionally looked at the cards on eBay, never pulling the trigger because I know what my collecting compulsions will lead to. I’ve still enjoyed looking though.
All this week The Force Awakens hype has been building with new TV spots and an Entertainment Weekly article giving us a plethora of new images and titbits of information. On a trip to the supermarket on my way home from work I saw the new Journey to The Force Awakens cards selling for only £1 a pack and decided to take the plunge on a couple.
First things first, £1 is a really good price for what you get: six story cards, one vehicle or character profile card and one shiny. That’s 12.5p a card, which seems both fair and frankly the best value for money we’ve been able to get for anything branded Star Wars since the mouse took over. That’s an early win for Topps, but what are the cards themselves like?
The card stock is average thickness with a nice glossy finish. My first thought was that they’re a little on the small side, but then I guess I was a lot smaller the last time I was handling trading cards myself. Regardless of the size the cards feel nice, and I’m glad I bought two packs to have a bigger stack of them to flick through.
The bright red borders recall the vintage trading cards from the 70’s and 80’s which is an alright look but, much like The Vintage Collection figure card backs leave me a bit cold. I would rather the image ran border to border so we could see more of it, particularly with the cards being on the small side, but that’s just the aesthetics of the series.
The backs of the cards are nice, employing different colour palettes for each film and making maximum use of the Masters of the Universe/The Force Awakens font to tell the story of the image on the card front. The sidebar shows three of the characters unique to each film, with Luke, Leia, Han, Chewie, Vader and Yoda all getting a heads up alongside a Tusken Raider, a Scout Trooper and Wicket.
Of course this wouldn’t be the Journey to The Force Awakens series without Episode VII making a show. I think I scored two of the big guns, as my profile cards feature Poe Dameron and the rectangular-dished Millennium Falcon.
One of my two shiny cards is listed as being from TFA even though it features series stalwart R2-D2. Whether this is because the Skywalker astromech plays a big role in the film is something that we’re going to have to wait to find out, but getting anything R2 related is always nice. My second shiny is Wicket, another firm favourite.
I’m not 100% sure I’ll pick up more of these but I’m also definitely not ruling it out. The Journey to The Force Awakens series from Topps is a nice and reasonably priced collectable card series for anyone interested in scratching that Star Wars itch between now and December.
I’ve recently had the honour to start writing for fan site The Hoth Spot. It’s run by a good group of guys and we’re all working hard to build an impressive online Star Wars resource so please check it out. Maybe read an article on The Phantom Menace whilst you’re there and let us know what you think!